The Atmanirbhar and Make in India initiatives have gotten a huge push from the Modi government in the post-lockdown crisis and Indo-China border tensions.
As the border tensions escalated, anti-Chinese movement and boycott China products promoted the initiatives by the government further.
Furthermore, boycotting Everything-Chinese has posed a new set of challenges for the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).
Read on to find more…
The Case So Far!
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)’s tender for upgrading telecom equipment to 4G, is set to be further delayed. A tender was issued in March after much delay.
The Central government constituted a committee last week to ‘refine technical specifications’ and make them more favourable to Indian companies.
This move is seen by the BSNL Employees’ Union, which organised a nationwide protest on Friday demanding allocation of 4G to BSNL, as another delaying tactic to favour private players.
However, a group called Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC) objected to the tender saying that it is not favourable to Indian companies and goes against ‘Make in India’ norms.
One of the requirements was that the company should have previous experience of setting up a mobile network of at least 20 million subscribers. None of the Indian suppliers have that experience, as all major telecom players depend on foreign companies.
Due to the TEPC’s objection, the tender was cancelled.
The 8-member committee, now constituted to recommend technical specifications, is expected to recommend core domestic network components that can be deployed in the BSNL network.
Due to the recent issues on the Indo-China border and the nation-wide anti-China sentiment, another project for upgrading 2G and 3G towers that was awarded to Chinese company ZTE in May now hangs in the balance.
What Does BSNL Have to Say?
HW News Youtube Channel interviewed BSNL Secretary P Abhimanyu regarding the delay in the launch of 4G services.
On not meeting the ‘Make in India’ norms he said, “All the private operators are procuring world-class equipment from multi-national vendors, why should BSNL be told to procure equipment from inconsequential companies whose 4G technology is not been proven.”
He further argued that BSNL has clearly mentioned its conditions in the tender, that any company who wished to participate in the tendering process must have an annual turnover of 8000 crore in the past 2 years and should have experience of providing 2 crore 4G lines.
He said, “Suppose they are not having 8000 crore turnover during the past 2 financial years, suppose some of the Indian companies selected where they will be having money to manufacture this equipment and supply? BSNL cannot pay any advance, first they should have financial worth to supply this equipment and secondly they should be having experience of managing such a vast network. So conditions laid down by BSNL are perfectly OK!”
He added,” I am telling plainly, that Narendra Modi does not want BSNL to get revived because it will hurt his dear friend Mukesh Ambani. I am not boasting.”
BSNL has surpassed Jio in the Fibre-To-Home (FDTH) sector due to the increasing demand for BSNL. He said that BSNL had waiting lists whereas no one is ready to take Jio Fibre.
On Jio Fibre, he said, “Jio Fibre is a great failure. Jio knows that. BSNL starts 4G service because BSNL is having its own customer base. It will be a very big problem for them. So all dirty games are being played with the blessing of the government.”
When questioned whether the ‘Atma Nirbhar’ initiative hampering the level playing field for BSNL Abhimanyu said, ”Narendra Modi is a very big wheeler dealer, all making political gimmicks. On one side, I do not know how he is talking about Atma Nirbhar Bharat. The entire public sector is being handed over to the multinational companies.”
100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is already allowed to the Railways, he said. In other words, this will be taken over by multinational companies any day.
He went on to say that in the coal industry, entire coal-federations are going on a 3-day strike starting 2nd July against privatisation and handing over of coal mines to multinational companies. In the defence sector, 82,000 defence employees are conducting an indefinite strike as 41 ordnance factories are being handed over to multinational companies as 100% FDI is allowed.
In conclusion he said, “This great Narendra Modi is talking about Atma Nirbhar Bharat, it is completely bogus. A similar thing has happened when great Indira Gandhi was there. See, I am an old fellow and at that time, people used to say, if Indira Gandhi says yes, it means no. If Indira Gandhi says no, it means yes. She did directly the opposite compared to what she said. Same applies to Narendra Modi. Also the private corporators want to kill the BSNL in governance with Narendra Modi government, if possible we will fight against this.”